With breast cancer being one of the most common forms of cancer affecting women, it is vital, more than ever before, to focus on ways to prevent breast cancer.
Though there is no sure-shot solution or medicine that prevents breast cancer, there are lifestyle changes and choices that can significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Here are 7 tips that can help you prevent the risk of breast cancer:
- Maintain a healthy weight
Keeping your body weight in the healthy range throughout your life and avoiding an increased body weight can help in reducing the risk of breast cancer. Excessive weight gain is linked with a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause.
- Stay physically active
Moderate to vigorous physical activity is linked to lowering the risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that an adult woman should get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise in a week.
- Limit alcohol consumption
Consumption of alcohol has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Even low levels of alcohol consumption have been linked to increasing the risk. The American Cancer Society recommends that women should restrict alcohol consumption to not more than one drink a day.
- Avoid smoking
There may be a strong link between smoking and greater cancer risk, especially in pre-menopausal women. Keep away from smoking.
- Breast feed
Breast-feeding babies may help prevent breast cancer. Breast-feeding for several months can have a protective effect. Women who breastfeed are known to experience hormonal changes during lactation that delay their menstrual periods and reduces a woman’s lifetime exposure to hormones like estrogen, which can promote breast cancer cell growth.
- Step out in the sun
Natural sunlight helps increase the levels of Vitamin D in the body. Canadian researchers have found that breast cells can convert Vitamin D to a hormone that has anti-cancer properties.
- Avoid unhealthy eating habits
Prolonged intake of canned food and drinks may increase the risk of breast cancer. High-temperature grilling, barbecuing or frying meat can trigger the production of acrylamide that can increase the risk of cancer.
Apart from this, certain women are classified as possessing a higher risk of breast cancer due to:
- A strong family history of breast cancer
- A gene mutation that increases the breast cancer risk (such as BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene)
Women at high risk of breast cancer too can follow certain tips for prevention.
- Undergo genetic counselling and testing for breast cancer risk
- Undertake BSE (Breast Self-Examination) to catch early signs of breast cancer
- Take prescribed drugs to lower the breast cancer risk
- Undertake regular mammography screening as recommended by the physician
The good news is breast cancer, if detected early, can easily be cured. It is important to follow a healthy lifestyle and talk to your physician in case of family history, and take all the steps you can to prevent breast cancer.